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Prizes to USA, Canada, and International Students and
Professionals for Designing Affordable Housing in California

Architecture at Zero

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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AIA California and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Deadline Date:

01/11/22 6:00 PM PST


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Prizes of up to $25,000 to USA, Canada, and International students and professionals for designing affordable energy-efficient housing in a pre-selected location in California. Certain applicants must pre-register before applying. The purpose of this competition is to promote net-zero energy building projects in Visalia and the Central Valley of California.

The 2021-22 Architecture at Zero competition focuses on decarbonization, resilience and equity. The challenge is to design affordable housing for farmworker families in California’s Central Valley. Key aspects of this project include responding to the challenges of equity and resilience through the design solution.

There are four parts to this competition:

  • First, entrants will create an overall site plan to accommodate the program outlined below. Entrants are encouraged to highlight any energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage, and carbon reduction strategies or systems shown.
  • Second, entrants will design the building in detail, demonstrating how the design will result in lower carbon emissions and embodied carbon, and addressing the requirements of the California Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. In order to indicate how the building design will result in lower carbon emissions, entrants will provide required documentation and may also include supplementary documentation.
  • Third, entrants are asked to describe how this project will build resilience. Entrants will be asked to complete a table outlining the inclusion of climate adaptation strategies and indicate on the site plan or section aspects of design strategies that support resiliency.
  • Finally, entrants are asked to consider how their design addresses equity for the project’s residents. Entrants will be asked to write a short essay and indicate on the site plan or section aspects of design strategies that support equity.

For project requirements, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173777

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $25,000 in total prize money will be awarded to student and professional winners.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This competition is open to students, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers, and designers anywhere in the world.

Full-time student entrants must provide a copy of their student ID. Recent graduates must have been enrolled full-time during the 2021calendar year and must provide official documentation of their full-time student status during those years (diploma, student ID showing date, etc.).

Anyone who was a full-time student within the 2021 calendar year is eligible to register as a student regardless of whether they are still studying. However, teams made up of students and professionals should register as professionals. Faculty members or others in the academic community assisting student teams should be listed as consultants to the project, rather than as teammates.

Pre-Application Information:

- To participate, students must pre-register by October 15, 2021.
- The submission deadline is January 11, 2022 at 6:00 pm PST.
- Winners will be announced on February 4, 2022 in an online event. Details forthcoming.

The entry fee for architects, engineers and designers is $275. The entry fee for students and recent grads is $0.

Please note that the Architecture at Zero competition uses an electronic registration process. If you are submitting multiple projects, you will need to register each project separately. There is no limit to the number of entries that an individual or firm may submit; however, each must be submitted separately with separate payments.

Entries are judged on the presentation board highlighting the project and the supplementary documentation. A separate review panel will convene to jury the technical components, which will result in a Technical Evaluation provided to the Jury. The Jury will determine the winners from all submissions. The Technical Evaluation is not the sole criterion on which entries will be judged but acts as a complement to the overall project design evaluation.

Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others. Jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. Criteria include quality of design, resolution of the program or idea, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.

It is unlikely that questions posed after January 4, 2022 will be answered.

Site resources:
Technical resources:
Terms and Conditions:
How to Submit:
Submission Requirements:
Additional Information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register Online:

Questions and Student Pre-registration:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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